“He’s a rock star in Japan,” said Rod Bengston, director of University Galleries, speaking of Jeffrey Fulvimari, the artist/illustrator of Madonna’s children’s book, The English Roses, and the next featured artist at the University of Akron’s Emily Davis Gallery.
Another Madonna book is soon forthcoming, which Fulvimari said he will illustrate. He will be on hand and give a free public talk about his work at the opening reception for the exhibit, which will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Fulvimari, one of the foremost names in illustration today, had what he calls a “small” first exhibit in January at gallery hanahou (a gallery specializing in the work of illustrators ) in New York. That exhibit featured just his plates, a series of some 200 paper plates onto which he’s drawn a seemingly endless variety of images of young women and girls, often accompanied by quirky, cute or flippant remarks.
“Sometimes I will draw things that look like people in my family, or actors and actresses, but I don’t set out to do that unless I’m hired to do that. I used to draw Madonna a lot.”
He draws women and girls, he says, because they’re more fun. His cute and clever girls are what got him the contract to illustrate Madonna‘s book.
While Fulvimari enjoyed the fame that accompanied The English Roses, he said there was a lot about it that wasn’t so great.
“There’s a lot of mania and a lot of people went really, really crazy,” he recalled. “I got a taste of what her life is like. It’s what many of the publicists call the ‘Madonna Effect.’ People just lose it. They go nuts. I don’t know how she lives her life.”
“The thing with Madonna, the reason I’m so glad I’m involved in this project is that what happens to people like me is that they get co-opted. You get picked up by Target and you get a yearly check for not very much to produce the stuff that now belongs to Target. When you are an illustrator that’s always a possibility.
“With The English Roses there was a little bit of trepidation because when you lend your style to a project, you are giving them everything, your attitude, your look, and it takes years to get a project like that out into the world. And once you become popular you can’t just turn around and say now I’m going to have 20 other things like this. The public doesn’t like that.”The work he’s showing at UA was the first he’s produced just for himself, and he’s planning more gallery shows. “The English Roses” is the perfect jumping-off point. It’s like the culmination of 20 years in this business,” Fulvimari said.
Source: Based on an article written by Dorothy Shinn for www.ohio.com>